Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!


Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite
beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of

black forest cake or the tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com
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Christmas Scrapbook Freebies

If you were visiting from Worldwide Christmas Scrapbooking Freebies, follow the
hyperlinks for Digitalegacies Designs' mini kit Christmas Cocoa
and the add-on Christmas Cocoa Flowers.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Chronicles Is Brewing Fresh Coffee Again!

Last week Wayne at Acting Balanced wrote a post pondering some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately. It seems to me that a lot of bloggers take blogging vacation in the summer. This might be because kids are home from school, personal vacations or that it’s just too nice outside to stay inside. Wayne suggested that a lot of formerly personal blogs have “gone pro” and have become more geared toward advertising. In commenting I suggested maybe a lot of personal blogs have jumped ship to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or some simpler less committed form of communication.

I have a Facebook account and I do check it every day because I have friends and relatives who don’t blog and don’t use email anymore. I visit Facebook a couplafew times day to check messages and run through a few the timeline headlines but I still get my occasional “I posted on Facebook, why don’t you know?” I honestly don’t have any problem using whatever means are necessary for communication. I will call if you won’t use any other media but phone calls. I email people who stick to email over social media and I use my Facebook account for people who don’t communicate any other way.

I don’t like to post a lot of things going on in my life on Facebook. To me Facebook “feels” like I’m standing in a warehouse full of people and when I post my status it’s basically yelling information about myself in the hopes that the person across the room will hear it. I’m more comfortable on my blog. That “feels” like I’m sitting in the cushy chair sharing coffee and stories with friends from around the web. Maybe I just have an old-school attitude but I think that’s okay. As long as blogs are still alive I’ll keep blogging.

I think that has a lot to do with my recent bloggers block. I feel like I’ve been going through the motions and not really putting any of me in my blog. There are weeks where the only thing I’ve posted has been memes. That’s taking the easy way out. Maybe I had bloggers block a lot longer than I thought I did. Taking a month off was inevitable.

I’m going to blog more short posts. There will be my formerly usual longer posts too, but I want to recreate my cyber presence. By recreate, I mean redo it like it was when it was more of me. I’m going to limit the number of memes I do and put Nani back into The Chronicles of Nani

I hope my regulars will still stop in for a cup of coffee!

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Do You Like It, Honey?

I’m moving back into normal after my blog break and that normal includes the Monday Quiz About Me hosted by Heather and Wayne at Acting Balanced.


1. Next Saturday is "Ask a Stupid Question Day"... in preparation for it, please share a stupid question you've been asked or would like an answer to...

I’ve always believed that there are no stupid questions. Questions asked as a joke aren‘t stupid, they’re funny, right?

Okay, maybe that’s my stupid question. If a question is asked as a joke and everyone laughs, then it’s a joke, not a question. But if a question asked as a joke is taken seriously, is the question stupid or the answer?

I can usually find the answers to stupid questions before I ask them seriously by looking them up online since most of my stupid questions have to do with a pop culture reference; the last one was “What is twerking?”


2. Do you believe that workplace dressing has become too casual?

I think that answer is different from workplace to workplace. I could write a full paper on this opinion, a term paper with a little research. Suffice it to say that it depends from workplace to workplace and person to person how what people wear to work affects productivity.

A suit (with tie for men, skirt or pants for women) should be worn when meeting with a client or appearing to speak with a group or on TV/video. But in the office/shop/store it totally depends on the proven productivity of the employees and the acceptance of the end users of the products or services.

In positions where I as the customer never see the employees in the office or shop productivity is all that matters. When I see the employees, for instance in retail, if the salesperson is dressed too casual for my taste, the product is probably not suited to me either


3. What technology is on your wishlist? Is there a technology that hasn't been invented yet that you want to see happen?

I guess I’d like to look at a tablet. I haven’t really looked and have no idea if it would suit y needs, but I know how much I love my e-reader. If I could have Photoshop on a tablet, I’d love it. I have no idea if they do that, but I‘d love a more portable scrapbook computer. So I guess that answers both questions. I’d love to consider a tablet, but I want one that scrapbooks.


4. September is Honey Month - are you a fan of honey? how do you use it?

I LOVE honey sticks, which I have often found at farmers markets or produce markets. The best ones are the sours; mix any sour flavor with pure honey and YUM!

I also use honey in oatmeal and occasionally in homeopathic medicinal teas.


Now question five, my questions for my visitors to answer toady:

5. What types of seasonal festivals or fairs are happening around you? What’s your favorite part of those celebrations?

It’s fall festival season in these parts. The ones I’ve been to over the years usually happen at apple orchards or cider mills and include arts and crafts, live music and of course apple picking and specialty food items. There's also usually pumpkin picking. I’ve loved apple picking and the special weekends in the fall.

I think I’d love to rent pen of those little 4-wheelers to pick in the orchards again. Hmmm…

Still I love going, having wither an apple cider slushie or hot cider, depending on whether I’m wearing a sweater or full-on jacket. A couple years ago Scotty and Kelly went picking while I stayed at the picnic table area to read outside. It was very relaxing and a gorgeous day for sitting outside. When they came back we had cider and donuts, because cider mill donuts FROM the cider mill are the BEST!

The best part of the festivals is spending time with family and enjoying the weather the flavors of the season.

I also add to that family flavor by bringing home tons of apples to make apple chips to send as college care packages for Rina and Tori.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: The Ex Who Wouldn't Die (Charley's Ghost #1) by Sally Berneathy


Finished September 27, 2013

Book synopsis at Good Reads

When Amanda's lying, cheating, scam-artist husband, Charley, saves her life in a near-fatal motorcycle accident, she can almost forgive him for dragging his feet on their divorce. Then she discovers he'd been dead for several hours at the time she thought he rescued her. And not just dead…murdered.

On the good side, at least they are no longer married.

But she's the primary suspect in Charley's murder and, as if that isn't bad enough, Charley's ghost shows up in her apartment. He was rejected, kicked back, not allowed to go into the light. The situation was bad enough when he was alive and trying to charm his way back into her life, but now he claims to be unable to go more than a few yards away from her. She can't even be certain he isn't peeking when she undresses for bed.

Even death did not them part.

As Amanda puts her life in danger in an effort to bring Charley's murderer to justice and send him into the light or the dark or anywhere away from her, she learns her knowledge of Charley's misdeeds is only the tip of a toxic iceberg. Charley blackmailed his murderer, blackmailed Amanda's father, lied about his family being dead when he is actually related to half the town of Silver Creek, Texas, and, with his treachery, has stirred up secrets that will change Amanda's life.



My review at Good Reads

2 of 5 stars

This book really should have gotten higher rating. It was an entertaining light mystery through most of the story. The main character was likeable and the ghost of her ex, a lifetime scam artist who finds himself unable to lie after death is interesting.

The characters are a little flat, especially the characters that are supporting characters. My biggest disappointment with the book was the end. Everything fell into place as if by some magic because it wasn’t realistic. There really wasn’t support for some of the amazing things that finished the book but the reader is just supposed to accept them. When the dust finally settled and the book ended everything was wrapped up neatly with unrealistically Pollyanna emotion but the story wasn’t over due to one more improbable character emption. This made way for a second book that I don‘t think I’ll be reading. I’ll stick with book 3 in Sally Berneathy’s Death by Chocolate series.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Themed Hodge Podge – More Cake?

It's Joyce's birthday at From This Side of the Pond. Won't you stop at our Hodge Podge host's place and wish her a great day?


1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

The last time that I sang happy birthday to someone, David and I sang happy birthday to Carla before we dispensed the birthday treat. The last time someone sang happy birthday to me was Pop and David saying to Aunt Judy and me when Pop grilled our birthday feast. I don’t ever find it embarrassing when someone sings to me I always think that is sweet.


2. Name a famous or 'infamous' person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

Country music star Martina McBride was born same as me. On Friday, July 29, 1966 Martina’s mom and my mom were doing the same thing. I don’t think meeting “famous” people is a big deal. (Probably from my background working in entertainment and sports.) But I like Martina’s music and it might be fun to have a cup of coffee with her and chuckle about what our moms were doing that day.


3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

Something thoughtful or handmade. Truth is for birthdays I really prefer cards and company.


4. What can you guarantee about yourself?

I will find the positive side of any situation.


5. Talking art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in The Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person? Why?

My taste in art is as diverse as my taste in about everything else. I love da Vinci and all the Italian masters and either painting would be fabulous to see in person. Both Milan and Paris are beautiful cities rich in history and both have a Claes Oldenburg sculpture.

In Paris, there is the buried bicycle.

In Milan, there is Needle, Thread and Knot, celebrating the fashion industry.

I really can’t decide which I want to go see. I speak a little bit of French, I read a little bit of Italian and while I really love Italian Master portraits, I wonder if it might not be difficult to get close enough to the little Mona Lisa to enjoy the detail. Also while I love them both, I’m more drawn to Needle, Thread and Knot. I guess I’m going to Milan.


6. Your favorite dessert?

Actual in a restaurant dessert? I hope everyone reading this guessed black forest cake.


7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

To get ready for fall I stock up on pumpkin spice everything. I always look forward to the baseball playoffs. While I have reasons I love them both and after the winter I’m dying for spring, I must say that I love fall the colors, flavors and harvesting spirit more. The wonder of autumn is the one thing that helps me deal with summer being gone.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yanno, I have so many random ideas in my head almost all the time and on Wednesdays when I come to question number eight on the Hodge Podge I draw a blank. Performance anxiety much? Yeesh!

Well since I’m posting late anyway I’ll get another cup of coffee take a power nap and see if anything random hits me and I’ll probably post that tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tid Bits

I have a bunch of short comments I’ve been writing down the past few days. I suppose any of them could be a full paper or editorial or even a long blog post, but I’m choosing brevity just now…over and over and over, which kinda defeats th idea of brevity. I LOVE irony! Here are the current Nani odds and ends.

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I didn’t mention this last Wednesday in my answer to the Hodge Podge question “What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?” I still don’t weigh one nice thing from a stranger above another because anything a stranger does for you that’s kind is a wonderful gesture. Strangers don’t “have to” and when they do it’s from the heart and beautiful.

There were 2 guys that helped me in Detroit. We were coming out of the park after the Division Series game a couple years ago and hit a rut in the sidewalk on the way back to the car. I was jarred and slipped out of the wheelchair onto the pavement. David was pushing the chair and there was no way he could have stopped me from slipping. I wasn’t hurt, but I was on the ground!

Two guys that were behind us walked up and asked if I was okay. I said yes and each of them grabbed an arm and a bend in my knee on either side and lifted me back into the chair. I thanked them and said I was good, just embarrassed. One of them told me it was the City of Detroit that should be embarrassed and they went on their way with a “Go Tigers” cheer.

I’d like to think they still would have helped me without my Tigers jacket. :)

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I usually read at least the first few comments after I read a news story online. I think I must like the burning in my eyes from the poison keyboards that also don’t have spell-check.

There are so many awful, spiteful and judgmental people in the news and they draw out their ilk to comment on internet news stories and discussion boards. But remember “Good person does something nice” is not a good news headline and even if they did post a story like that, the same people would comment about what a bad story it is and turn it into another “MY religion and MY politics are right because you’re a moron” page anyway.

Rest assured that those of us that don’t make news still vastly outnumber the ugly people who make the news and the armchair “experts” who insist on making it about their religious/political views.

A healthy self-image and balanced personality go a long way in keeping that need for anonymous attention and affirmation down.


(steps off soapbox)

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Last note, but never ever the least, today is the day that Alan Jacobson’s new Karen Vail Mystery is released! I finished The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die this afternoon. My review is coming soon on that one, but I did get No Way Out today and it does move immediately up in my cue for my next read!


There are my tids bits for now. See you tomorrow with the Hodge Podge!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happily Frosted (Hodge Podge)

Click photo to visit "Recipes, Recipes, Recipes" blog for the original post and recipe!


1. What's the best thing about growing older?

It’s better than NOT growing older.

Every year I have more knowledge, more experience and more people in my world. I can look back every day and realize I am richer for every year, every day that I have added to my life.


2. When did you first feel like a grown up?

That assumes I already feel like a grownup. ;)

Really, I’d have to say out was the day Grandma died. She was my last grandparent and there was no one left to cherish me like a grandchild, nowhere to run to and shed my adult side. I’m the matriarch on Mom’s side of the family now.


3. Chocolate cake with white icing or white cake with chocolate icing?

Chocolate cake with white (buttercream) frosting!

What made our wedding cake so perfect; David had his chocolate frosting on the bottom (With chocolate cake) and I got my white buttercream on top (with cappuccino cake) The cake flavor wasn’t the big thing. David and I agree that cake is just a frosting delivery system. But a quality cake with the same quality frosting is THE BEST! Our wedding cake was divine, even after we cut it!



4. What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

As a disabled person, strangers do nice things for me all the time. From the little girl who stayed in the bathroom so she could hold the door for me when I left to the fellow customer who threw my garbage out for me at Panera, I don’t weigh one deed from a stranger against another. They don’t have to but they are all part of making me a little less disabled.


5. What's something you learned from your grandparents?

Hehe.. From Noni (paternal grandmother); “Don’t show too much bosom,” as she buttoned one more button on my shirt. From Mums (maternal-maternal great grandmother): “You have to leave the boys just a little ‘to think about’” as she Unbuttoned TWO buttons on the same shirt that same day.

I think they taught me that I’d learned a lot about balance from them. In between the “suggestions” from Noni and Mums was where I’d buttoned my blouse to anyway!

I was blessed to have known all four of my grandparents, two of my greats and one great-great. To say I learned a TON from them is still an understatement.


6. Wednesday marks a sad day in the history of planet earth-9/11...what's something you do (or can do) to bring peace to your little corner of the world?

Never really thought about it. I try to be kind to everyone and not take advantage of people; I really do think that world peace starts with mutual neighborhood respect and grows out from there. Yes, that’s a bit pollyanna-altruistic and we have a LONG way to go to even get started, but I try to do my part every day.


7. Share a favorite quote, scripture, or song containing the word peace.

Let There Be Peace on Earth

I don’t know why it’s considered a Christmas song now; it was an everyday church hymn when I was a kid.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s anniversary time at The Studio again and I’m playing along with the Layout Artist Challenge. Each week we get a full kit and instructions for creating 2 different layouts with it. In addition to the four free kits during the contest, there is a bonus for completing all four weeks and a random drawing from those who do all four for an EHD. I need to buy a new extended hard drive, but I am putting that off until the beginning of next month, y’know, just in case.

Here are a couple of the layouts I’ve done for weeks one and two:

Credits: Morning Memories Collaboration by Nibbles Skribbles, 
The Urban Fairy and Jilbert’s Bits of Bytes

Credits: Holiday Hoopla by Snickerdoodle Designs and Kimberkatt Scraps.

Journaling:

She’s a CAT TV addict! When she hears the squeak of the door in the morning that means her Daddy had turned on the tall screen in the front room, she rushes to sit right in front and wait for her favorite show, Chipmunk.

She loves all the shows; Wild Birds of Ohio, Robin Fights, the Falling Leaves Special and she even watches when the screen looks black to catch Midnight Bunny. But she doesn’t watch alone, that one, she’s an enabler! She wakes her sister up to watch Nut Wars, starring the Squirrely Brothers. She’s even taken to introducing her baby brother to Kitten’s Programming, although he didn't quite get the point of the show Patience which promised a guest appearance from Chipmunk at the end.

It could be worse than a CAT TV addiction though. She uses catnip in moderation and isn’t beating anyone up for their tuna.

I do wish it hadn’t been called a challenge, because it’s a competition. One layout artist for each week is going to be asked to join the Studio's store creative team. I didn’t realize that until the contest had already started. I really don’t have the time to be on a site creative team, but I also don’t ever do well in contests where your layouts are “judged” against others.

I am NOT dissing my own work by any means! I think my pages are great; they are personal and I spend time working on them. I’ve also been digi-scrapping for 6 years and that experience shows, but for store CTs they want layouts that focus more on the kit, after all, you get the kits to add to the advertising value, not just for your own personal layouts. I don’t have time to NOT be scrapbooking for me right now. Maybe next year when I’m more caught up. Anyway, a simpler layout with a small nice cluster might sell ME a kit, but they generally want more of a kit focus on the layouts for CT work.So, I really am doing it for fun, but if you visit the Studio there are some really great professional-looking layouts with these kits!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: A Duty To The Dead (Bess Crawford, #1) by Charles Todd


Finished reading September 6, 2013

Book Synopsis at Good Reads

The daughter of a distinguished soldier‚ Bess Crawford follows in his footsteps and signs up to go overseas as a nurse during the Great War‚ helping to deal with the many wounded. There‚ serving on a hospital ship‚ she makes a promise to a dying young lieutenant to take a message to his brother‚ Jonathan Graham: "Tell Jonathan that I lied. I did it for Mother′s sake. But it has to be set right." Later‚ when her ship is sunk by a mine and she′s sidelined by a broken arm‚ Bess returns home to England‚ determined to fulfill her promise.

It′s not so easy‚ however. She travels to the village in Kent where the Grahams live and passes on to Jonathan his brother′s plea. Oddly‚ neither Jonathan‚ his mother‚ nor his younger brother admit to knowing what the message means. Then Bess learns that there′s another brother‚ incarcerated in a lunatic asylum since the age of 14 when he was accused of brutally murdering a housemaid.

Bess rightly guesses that the dying soldier′s last words had something to do with the fourth brother. Because the family seems unwilling to do anything‚ she decides that she will investigate. It′s her own duty to the dead


My Review at Good Reads

3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t really expecting to like this book; I’m not a great fan of period fiction. This book was set in England during World War I. Told in first person, the main character is a nurse on the hospital ship with an important message to deliver to the family of the soldiers that died in her care. Delivering that message proves to be the start of the mystery that will enable her to heal more than just the sick.

The cast of characters is pretty well-developed and the main heroine strong, although I did have to see that string through the accurately represented sensibilities of the time. I can appreciate, even when my modern brain found it offensive, why every passion or keen interest our main character had was questioned as “are you in love?” That was probably not a crazy question to ask a woman in the early 1900s. There were twists and surprises in the plot and although the ending was what I would’ve expected it wasn’t exactly what I expected.

In the end I liked the book and I would definitely recommend it to fans of that era and a good mystery.


Book Review: Murder, Lies and Chocolate by Sally Berneathy


Finished reading August 22, 2013

Book synopsis from Good Reads

Rodney Bradford comes into Lindsay's restaurant, offers to buy her small house for double its value, eats her brownies, and drops dead on the sidewalk in front. Then someone breaks into her house and tries to dig up her basement. Next her almost-ex-husband offers to sign the divorce papers, but only if she'll give him her small, old house and take his big, new house instead.

Suddenly everybody wants Lindsay's house. Is there oil under the basement, plans to bring the railroad through, pirate treasure buried in the basement? A second break-in occurs and causes her cat, King Henry, to launch into full attack mode, taking a few chunks out of the intruder.

Lindsay enlists the aid of her enigmatic neighbor, Fred, to help solve the mystery while trying to keep her police detective boyfriend, Trent, from getting in their way with his insistence on all those silly cop rules.

On the positive side, sales skyrocket for the special dessert Lindsay calls Murdered Man's Brownies. Prisoners, murderers, crazy relatives and strippers are all part of the chaos in this second book of the Death by Chocolate series.


My Review at Good Reads

5 out of 5 stars

Murder, Lies & Chocolate is an excellent follow-up book to Death By Chocolate. Like the first book it’s a good mystery told as a fun first-person story.

Lindsay Powell, the owner of the Death By Chocolate restaurant and heroine of the story, is almost dating the cop she fell for the first book but her obnoxious ex won’t sign those papers and in a smaller community a police officer just doesn’t date a married woman. But it’s easy to stay involved with the police when a man is poisoned and dies right outside of your restaurant. And so a new mystery begins.

If you read the first book and weren’t saying “just signed the papers and go away” of the obnoxious ex, you’ll be saying it now. But then again without the obnoxious ex Lindsay’s life would be too happy and normal to write a book about it. His greed, sleaze and name still on Lindsay’s house bring interesting danger and even more interesting characters into the story.

Considering what some of my favorite treats are and the poison theme running through this series so far I shouldn’t like the books, but a little poison doesn’t stop me. It’s a fun theme for a light mystery and I do very carefully check my chocolate and my beverages. If I don’t taste any poison I try some more to be sure. ;-)


I'm Training My Dragon

Well, so, hi! I took a bit of a blogging hiatus, did you miss me? (Smiles)

There’s been a lot going on and yet I’ve had a bit of blog-block. I’m a fairly analytical person and I usually like to try to figure out why something is bothering me. Unfortunately I usually do that figuring out when I write and I haven’t felt like writing. I'm having some trouble with my hands, another fun MS thing, where lots of typing makes my hands and arms very tired. That means journaling for a scrapbook page was about my limit before I just didn’t want to touch a keyboard again.

Solution? For my birthday this year David got me a pet dragon!

Dragon is talk to text software. I talk to Joey, my computer, and Puff, my dragon, does the typing for me! One of the things about the Dragon software I like is the incredible accuracy rate. Puff is not perfect, but he types better than me. The truth is it takes some time in training to get your Dragon to understand everything you say so Puff and I are still learning. But what’s cool is every time I turn Dragon off it updates itself with what it learned today. And every time I turn it on it understands  better. VERY COOL!


Cats

Things in the cat–world are going okay. Kaline has been acting out a bit; jealousy can be an ugly monster. She was being mean or with claws and teeth with us and there was an issue with marking her territory in the house; NOT COOL AT ALL! We got her a “Calming Collar” hoping the nice smell and positive pheromones would re-break those bad habits. The first attempt with the collar resulted in Kaline completely withdrawing and getting nastier. The second attempt with her vet's blessing has worked a little better. She still hates the collar but we hope when she finally calms down and the dust settles she can be collar-free again.

Carla and Marco are doing much better. Although Marco likes to play a lot more, he and Carla spar and play chase. When Carla gets tired of playing and Marco wants to keep going Carla lets him know the game is over with a *fwap* that knocks him down. By about the fourth time he gets that the game is over. It took David and me a while to figure out that Carla doesn’t hate Marco. A couple days ago Marco was the aggressor when he and Carla were fighting so we gave Marco a time out his room. Carla just stared at us with a look asking why we took her playmate away. She was happy again when we let him out.  I have to remember that when Carla was new she liked to play a lot rougher than Kaline did.  So if she and Marco enjoy playing rough we just have to learn to accept that when Carla makes the “cougar-roar” it’s a good thing.

I betcha want an update on how big Marco has gotten during my hiatus. These three months old now!

July 24, 2013
Here is Marco just after he came home.
7 ½ weeks old



August 3, 2013
Watching cat TV with Carla
9 weeks old



August 21, 2013
Playing King of Mommy’s Chair with Kaline
11 ½ weeks old



September 1, 2013
Rasslin’ with Carla
3 months old

I love this shot because it shows off his polkadot tummy!

At three months old he fills more than half the arm of the loveseat!



So there’s the catch-up for now. I’ve got lots to say and Puff is letting me say it now so should be able to keep posting. In the meantime I’ll post a couple of book reviews for books I finished during my hiatus and get some lunch.